State officials say sharing information vital during statewide drought

lake purdy drought

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The state of Alabama is activating its drought management plan. Nearly 60 days with no measurable rain across the entire state, officials say the outlook isn’t very good.

Alabama’s lakes and rivers show the severity of this year’s drought. It’s having a big impact on businesses around the water and on cities that use lakes for drinking water.

“For the short term, there’s little to no rain forecast,” Brian Atkins said. He’s with the Office of Water Resources and led the first meeting of Alabama’s Drought Assessment and Planning Team. More than a dozen state agencies are working together to share information and resources.

“Somebody may have something that another group needs,” Atkins said. Farmers and ranchers in Alabama are feeling the impact from the drought. Pastures and creeks are bone dry forcing farmers to feed hay during a season they normally let cattle graze. Lower cattle prices mean, even if they do sell, they won’t make much money.

The drought is also draining lakes and rivers. Birmingham Water Works is on a stage 4 drought warning. Their source for water, Lake Purdy, is drying up every day. That means that eventually, those systems will have to start paying for water from other sources.

“It depends on each water system, in terms of their system, as far surcharges and things like that,” Atkins said.

“As we go through and don’t receive any rain we could see more occurrences of consumer impact.”

The state is trying to make all the information they are receiving on the drought available online. Check out water.alabama.gov for more information.

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